(Syrian Christian soldiers -- enemies of ISIS -- kneeling at the altar of a desecrated church)
WHAT IS CLASSICAL (PROTESTANT) ANGLICANISM?
Fr. Paul F.M. Zahl on The Protestant Face of Anglicanism (Blog archives: Read from the bottom up)
CONVERTING TO ANGLICANISM
TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN BLOGS AND WEB SITES
OTHER SITES AND BLOGS
Death to the Beast
(Syrian Christian soldiers -- enemies of ISIS -- kneeling at the altar of a desecrated church)
There is an exhortation of Anselm (1033-1109) to a dying brother, written in the most comforting words: “When a brother seems to be in his death struggle, it is godly and advisable to exercise him through a prelate or other priest with written questions and exhortations. He may be asked in the first place: ‘Brother, are you glad that you will die in the faith?’ let him answer: ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you confess that you did not live as well as you should have?’ ‘I confess.’ ‘Are you sorry for this?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Are you willing to better yourself if you should have further time to live?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has died for you?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you believe that you cannot be saved except through his death?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you heartily thank him for this?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Therefore always give thanks to him while your soul is in you, and on this death alone place your whole confidence. Commit yourself wholly to this death, with this death cover yourself wholly, and wrap yourself in it completely. And if the Lord should want to judge you, say: “Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thee and thy judgment; I will not contend with Thee in any other way.” If he says that you have merited damnation, say: “I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between myself and my evil deserts, and the merits of his most worthy passion I bring in place of the merit which I should have had, and, alas, do not have.” ’ (Commenting on Sola Fide prior to the Reformation. Martin Chemnitz, “Examination of the Council of Trent, Part 1, Eighth Topic: “Concerning Justification”, Section II, “Testimonies of the Ancients Concerning Justification, pg 511.)
A follow-up to previous posts about N.T. Wright and the New Perspective on Paul, but especially to this post, where I write in the Comments section in response to Trent:
On a more personal or subjective level, I've been reacting strongly to Wright because what he says about justification stands so jarringly against my experience of conversion. I became a Christian back in 1974, years before I ever heard the word "imputation" or started studying theology. God had been working on me for about a year, and I started reading the KJV Bible my mother bought for me when I was just a child. I had a few days off work and I started reading systematically through the NT. It was after reading the Gospel of John and subsequently Paul's epistle to the Romans that the whole world crashed in on me and I was compelled to repent and give my life to Christ. It was by reading the pertinent sections of Romans that I became convinced God somehow "traded" Christ's righteousness for my sinfulness, and that is what convinced me that Paul's argument was "good news" indeed for me. It was only after I started studying theology that learned about the doctrine of imputation.
If what Wright is saying about Paul's theology is true, I think I can say with all confidence that if this is what I'd gleaned from Romans instead of the notion that God imputed Christ's righteousness to me, I'd probably still be a pagan.
Gerald Hiestand, who is the founder of the Center for Pastor Theologians (see post immediately below), observed similarly back in 2007:
One of the more significant problems I find with the NP is its frequent marginalization of Paul’s conversion theology. Many advocates of the NP tend to speak of Paul’s “call” rather than his “conversion.” From this perspective, Paul was not turning from a legalistic Jewish religious system to a grace based Christian paradigm. Rather, the Judaism of Paul’s day was already a faith-based system that understood the grace of God (which, I’m sure, explains why the Jewish religious rulers were bent on killing Christians). For scholars such as Dunn, Paul did not switch to a new religion as much as he expanded the logic and scope of his current religion. What was only for the Jews had, in Christ, been opened to the Gentiles. Thus, the encounter with Christ on the Damascus road was not Paul’s conversion per se, but rather his receiving of a divine call to take the message of Christ to the Gentiles. From this perspective, justification is no longer about man's relationship to God, but rather about the relationship between Jew and Gentile. In this downplaying of Paul’s personal conversion, there is a subsequent downplaying of Paul’s conversion theology. This emphasis (or lack there of) explains why the NP is often accused of not having a robust soteriology.
While it is certainly true that Paul did not see his new-found faith in Christ as antithetical to his Jewish heritage, it is incorrect to marginalize Paul's conversion theology. For Paul, both the pious Jew and the godless Gentile, was in need of ontological renewal (an anachronistic term perhaps, but one that fits). The cloud of ontological culpability that hung over all the sons of Adam (Romans 5) could only be dispelled through the redemption found in Christ. The death and resurrection of Christ marked the inauguration of the long awaited New Covenant and the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham—the ultimate answer to Adam's sin.
Thus for Paul, Jews did not need to be converted to another religion per se; in this Dunn is correct. But for Paul, Jews did need to be converted (i.e., spiritually regenerated) according to the prophetic dictates of their own religion. What the Law and the Jewish prophets foretold—the coming gift of the Spirit and the circumcision of the heart—had now come to pass in Christ. And the typological salvation that the Law offered had only ever been offered with a view to the Christ-event and the ontological renewal that it would afford. To reject the anti-type was to reject the type. OT faith and grace—however present it might have been in Second Temple Judaism—had never been enough to overcome the ontological corruption of Adam’ sin. Abraham, no less than Paul, was in need of the salvation found through the redeeming work of Christ. It was a “conversion of the heart”—now realized in Christ—that Paul preached.
For me, this is a key reason to reject the fundamental premise of NPPers such as Sanders, Dunn and the former Bishop of Durham Tom Wright, and to stick with Richard Hooker instead:
Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in him. In him God findeth us, if we be faithful; for by faith we are incorporated into him. Then, although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the man who in himself is impious, full of iniquity, full of sin; him being found in Christ by faith, and having his sin in hatred through repentance; him God beholdeth with a gracious eye, putteth away his sin by not imputing it, taketh quite away the punishment due thereto, by pardoning it; and accepteth him in Jesus Christ, as perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that is commanded him in the law: shall I say, more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law? I must take heed what I say; but the Apostle saith, "God made him which knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Such we are in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God himself. Let it be counted folly, or phrensy, or fury, or whatsoever. It is our wisdom, and our comfort; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, that man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the sin of men, and that men are made the righteousness of God.
What has the Academy to do with the Church? - Tertullian of Carthage
There is no such thing as a conservative academic, because the academy today only accepts liberals who have been trained as such. It is impossible to study conservative theology at a post graduate level. Many people would disagree pointing to those with Masters Degrees, but those are just three year post-graduate courses where the first degree is not theology. I am talking about is the English system where you do your first degree in theology, then do post graduate work, again in theology. There are no universities who accept conservative Professors.
The student at such a faculty will be taught all about source criticism etc. of course using only the NA critical text, and studying only modernist "theologians". To be accredited a university must toe the line, or they are out.
This is a comment that Rev. Roger du Barry made to a recent blog article I posted entitled, "Lent and the Academic Theologian." I posted this article and a previous related one under a new category I've created called "Church v. Academy", because I have become increasingly aware of a threat that a certain kind of academicism poses to Anglicanism, and in fact has been doing so since shortly after the Reformation. It's common knowledge that universities in Christendom were created largely, though not solely, for the purpose of training ministers. It's also common knowledge that these universities and divinity schools, from Oxford to Princeton to Georgetown University, have tended to liberalize, and later to radicalize. For certain reasons, one of which is the laudable goal of intellectual freedom, the Church could simply not keep them orthodox.
This means one of two things. Either the laudable and necessary goal of intellectual freedom inherently leads one away from orthodoxy, and therefore orthodoxy must be dispensed with, or there is some sinful, fallen dynamic (or set of dynamics, usually revolving around egoism and pride) that naturally attends intellectual freedom and therefore must be identified and remedied by orthodoxy.
I mentioned a specific threat to Anglicanism. It was in the Church of England's universities that Pelagianism and Semipelagianism reared their heads in the Middle Ages, that Arminianism arose to challenge Edwardian and Elizabethan divinity around the turn of the 17th century, and that Deism and liberal Protestantism, both based in Enlightenment thought, arose later.
The problem, as I see it, isn't limited to the way the academic environment nourishes the heresies and unbelief typically associated with liberalism. "Conservative" academic types get caught up in the dynamic as well, as Rev. du Barry correctly implies. I've recently rubbed shoulders on Facebook with two somewhat unpleasant ACNA priests, whose comments show how smitten they are by the academy and whose pastoral sensibilites are, in my estimation, suffering accordingly. One of them thinks that it's simply a matter of time before Tom Wright's work on the New Perspective on Paul becomes orthodoxy for Anglicans, and looks down with elitist disdain on Wright's critics. The other priest, an Anglo-Catholic who eschews the Articles of Religion, predictably wants to vest orthodoxy in councils of bishops, but bishops whose ears are keenly attuned to the scholarship produced by Anglican academics, which is to say, an alliance of Anglican bishops and scholars that would be much like Rome's Magisterium.
Enter the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT), an organization dedicated to addressing this "disconnect that exists between the academy and the local church", per its founder Gerald Hiestand. I would love to see Anglicans get on board with this project, because for far too long too many Anglicans have been laboring under "the assumption that Christianity can be abstracted from the Church", to quote Orestes Brownson's criticism of Newman's flawed method. Prior to the rise of the medieval university, education had been procured at cathedral or monastic schools, and prior to the Reformation, theologians were generally either pastors or had some vital connection to the Church (e.g., the religious). After the Reformation, the Church in the West looked increasingly to the university scholar, and not the pastor/theologian, for guidance into all truth. I would argue that the legacy of that has patently been a sad one. Theology must spring from where the Holy Spirit is, and I would argue for a number of reasons that the Holy Spirit ain't in the secular academy, and is becoming increasingly unimportant in the Christian academy. Hence the need to train orthodox, Spirit-led pastors as theologians, just as in the days of the Fathers, who relied principally on the theology of the apostles, whose theology was likewise crafted in the context of pastoral activity. Though the charge will be lodged that CPT's project is "obscurantist" or "anti-intellectual", we must answer, "Frankly, dear, I don't give a damn" to those who register that concern. One need only examine the trajectory of the academy in the Western world to see that obscurantism and anti-intellectualism increasingly marks that environment as well, not to mention all the other signs of moral and intellectual degradation.
I've linked CPT in the lower left sidebar.
I link these in keeping with the "Man-glicanism" and "Muscular Christianity" subjects to which this blog is occasionally concerned, and in opposition to the mindset, recently expressed by an Anglo-Catholic blogger, who is "not an advocate of 'muscular Christianity', and who "approach(es) (his) faith through beauty and love, through the way of the Romantics". (To his credit, he did say "enough is enough" with respect to ISIS and seems to understand the need to unleash a can of serious whoopass on these murdering barbarians. My high Anglo-Catholic friends here in Denver are hardly anti-muscular Christians. They drink, smoke, love women, collect firearms, shoot, and prepare. They may wear lace at Mass, but underneath their vestments are sidearms, nerves of steel and a resolve to go "loud" if necessary.)
A Facebook friend posted my For Evangelicals and Others Considering Eastern Orthodoxy at the Orthodox and Non-Orthodox Christian Discussion Group Facebook page. While the reactions there aren't surprising, and a few of the criticisms are even somewhat cogent, I want to mention a couple of things: 1) Some months after I posted that article, which was shortly after I created this blog, I posted a blog article regarding my intent to be less critical of my Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. Like Pilate, what I have written I have written, but I don't want to make it sound as though there is nothing in these traditions worth listening to. We Evangelical Anglo-Protestants should affirm truth wherever we find it; 2) Unfortunately, when people post links to web sites at Facebook, oftentimes images from the site are picked up randomly and displayed in the Facebook post. In this case, FB picked up the logo of the Colorado Anglican Society I had displayed in one of my sidebars, making it look like my site had some sort of official sanction from the society. I have since removed the logo, and I want to make it clear that nothing I write here is necessarily reflective of the beliefs and goals of the Colorado Anglican Society, the Secker Society, or any other organization with which I am affiliated. The views expressed here are solely my own.
Am I upset with my Facebook friend for posting my article? Not in the least. It seems tailored to the purpose of that discussion page, and it's providing an opportunity for its members -- including the legendary Perry Robinson -- to unload on me. So let the games continue! ;)
I am especially intrigued by Ferguson's sociological analysis. I knew the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" existed in Australia and New Zealand. It's not surprising therefore that it exists in the UK as well. Ferguson paints an accurate view of the unfortunate American tendency to follow gurus, and the way much of American Evangelicalism is so uncritical in this regard. It only plays into the hands of the Cathodox enemies of the Reformation.
As as aside: Some people say Latin is the language of theology. Others say German. I say it's English spoken by a Scot. ;)
Thomas Weelkes is best known for his vocal music, especially his madrigals and church music. Weelkes wrote more Anglican services than any other major composer of the time, mostly for evensong. Many of his anthems are verse anthems, which would have suited the small forces available at Chichester Cathedral. It has been suggested that larger-scale pieces were intended for the Chapel Royal.
Blogging's been slow recently, I know, but that's partly because I've been very busy. I currently have a couple of humdingers taking shape in my head, which are based on my current reading (e.g., Nockles on the Oxford Movement) and exchanges with Anglo-Catholics and others at ACNA and other Anglican discussion boards on Facebook. They'll be posted here in the weeks ahead.
In preparation for these items, have a look at Gillis Harp's article Recovering Confessional Anglicanism and J.I. Packer's The Anglican Commitment to Comprehensiveness, both of which have been posted here, but thus far with no comment. Be sure also to read the article by Diarmaid MacCulloch I linked in the blog entry immediately below.
I will also have an important announcement in late September.
"I had two agendas in mind in constructing this title. The first is the ongoing task of asserting that England did indeed have a Reformation in the sixteenth century. This might seem superfluous: after all, we have all heard of Henry VIII and his marital troubles, and we have all heard of bloody Mary and good Queen Bess defeating the Spanish Armada with a fine speech and a dose of English bad weather laid on by t...he Almighty. But the Church of England has over the last two centuries become increasingly adept at covering its tracks and concealing the fact that it springs from a Reformation which was Protestant in tooth and claw. This labour of obfuscation began with the aim of showing that Anglicans were as good if not better Catholics than the followers of the Pope. It then continued with the perhaps more worthy aim of finding a road back to unity with Rome, in the series of ecumenical discussions which began in 1970, known by the acronym ARCIC (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission). The participants in these discussions have not been anxious to emphasise difference, and very often they have fallen back on the Anglo-Catholic rewriting of English church history pioneered by John Keble and John Henry Newman in the 1830s, as the Oxford Movement took shape. A good deal of my career has been spent trying to undo the Anglo-Catholic view of history, not because I think that Anglo-Catholics are bad people, but simply because within their ranks over a century and a half, there has been a troupe of historians who have been too clever for their own good."
(Read the entire article here. I will also link this article in the left sidebar.)
"Australia needs to prepare for an increasingly savage, 100-year war against radical Islam that will be fought on home soil as well as foreign lands, the former head of the army, Peter Leahy, has warned."
News flash: we've been fighting it for 1,400 years. It's just that the modern political elite is in denial. Political correctness keeps them there.
On a related note, it's easy for us Christians to harbor a spirit of revenge when we reflect on the atrocities ISIS is currently perpetrating against the defenseless civilian population in Iraq, which includes Muslims. Revelation 6:9-11 reflects a righteous Christian desire for retribution, and I for one would love to see ISIS destroyed. At a minimum, the West should to its best to arm anti-Jihadist forces everywhere.
But we must be aware of two things: 1) the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church; and 2) there are stories emanating from all parts of the Islamic world not only of disaffection with Islam but of conversions to Christianity. And because Christian missionary activity is not allowed in Muslim lands, Muslims are coming to Christ by reading bootlegged Bibles and from visions received from heaven. I don't know the provenance of this video and so I'm a little hesitant to post it, but, his tears might be a sign of authenticity. Even if fake, it is reflective of what indeed seems to be happening among Muslims:
Like the Calorene solidier Emeth in The Last Battle, Muslims like the man in this video are finding Christ, though in the most unlikely of places. God knows the hearts of his elect, like he knew the heart of Cornelius, another unexpected member of the Church who became so because of a vision received from God. He will save them missionary or no missionary, and the current horror just might prove to be, for many Muslims, the catalyst of their salvation.
That being said, if the Lord so tarries, we will indeed be fighting radical Islam for another hundred years, and the current political elite will have to be shoved out of the way in order for us to effectively fight it, because they simply aren't able to man up.
Behold, the need for a new Crusade is suddenly upon us.
1 O wondrous sight, O vision fair
of glory that the church shall share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!...
2 From age to age the tale declare,
how with the three disciples there,
where Moses and Elijah meet,
the Lord holds converse high and sweet.
3 The law and prophets there have place,
two chosen witnesses of grace;
the Father's voice from out the cloud
proclaims his only Son aloud.
4 With shining face and bright array
Christ deigns to manifest today
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.
5 And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision's mystery,
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.
The first is by Al Mohler on the Church of England's decision to open its episcopate to women. Sound of nail being hit on head here:
This is the kind of “compromise” that pervades mainline liberal Protestantism. It shifts the church decisively to the left and calls for mutual respect. Conservatives are to be kindly shown the door. Ruth Gledhill of The Guardian [London], one of the most insightful observers of religion in Great Britain, recognized the plight of the evangelicals, though she celebrated the vote: “In the last 69 episcopal appointments, there have been evangelicals but not a single conservative one.” In this context, “conservative” means more concerned with doctrinal matters and opposed to a change in the church’s teachings on gender and human sexuality. But, as Gledhill recognized, “This wing of the church is where so much of the energy is, giving rise not just to growth, but also that necessary resource, cash.”
Yes, there is another pattern to recognize — evangelicals have the growth and the cash, just not the votes. The talk about mutual flourishing is really an argument to remain in the church and keep paying the bills.
Ruth Gledhill is profoundly right about another aspect of Monday’s vote as well. It won’t stop with women bishops. “Now the church can move into the 20th century, although perhaps not the 21st,” she wrote. “A change on gay marriage would be needed to do that.” Well, stay tuned, as they say. The same church now has bishops living and teaching in open defiance of the church’s law on sexuality as well.
There is a very real sense in which Monday’s vote was inevitable. Once the church had decided to ordain women as priests, the elevation of women to bishop was only a matter of time. But the Church of England explicitly claims apostolic succession back to the earliest years of the church, traced through bishops. That is why virtually every major media outlet in Britain acknowledged, at least, that the vote reversed 2,000 years of Christian tradition. They also tended to note that the vote came after 20 years of controversy.
Evidently, 2,000 of years of tradition was no match for 20 years of controversy.
The second article is one from Carl Trueman on Reformed theology for a church in exile. I discern a bit of synchronicity in the way these two articles appeared almost at the same time. When I read them, they make me almost wish orthodox Presbyterian churches would create their own Anglican Ordinariates.
Almost. I intend to die an Anglican, but I agree with Trueman's article and its applicability to the future of Anglicanism, if it is to have much of one. At ACNA's first Inaugural Assemby in 2009, then-OCA Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen addressed the crowd in an ecumenical capacity. Jonah had a number of recommendations for the new church, all of which predictably amounted to "become Orthodox." A principal recommendation, pontificated Jonah: lose your Calvinism and your other "Reformation heresies." No surprises there, but I think our own particular, historical brand of "Calvinism" is exactly what we need to find, or exile may be the least of our worries.
Mark Tooley on St. Athanasius' steady and unrelenting defiance of the Powers That Be. Words for today, as traditional Christians will be, and even now are, facing Antichrist's onslaught both in the secular realm and the ecclesial one. I don't know about you, but these things don't depress me; they only make me relish the fight.
And we have a hero in this regard in the person of the venerable and indefatigable orthodox bishop of Alexandria.